Two students standing by a map.

The Middlebury Schools Abroad are proud to support the work of the Kathryn Wasserman Davis Collaborative in Conflict Transformation and share information on opportunities that are available to students.

You can read more about the overarching initiative or listen to a Vermont Public radio interview with President Laurie L. Patton.

The Schools Abroad are working to further the goals of Global Literacy within the Middlebury community and beyond. We have multiple projects related to and funded through this initiative with international staff and partners continuing to develop more opportunities. 

Middlebury has 16 Schools worldwide across 32 sites where undergraduates from Middlebury and other US colleges and universities study, as well as graduate students in some of our locations.  Many of our programs are fully embedded within the curriculum and students study in the host country language. Through language education and immersive learning, our students are challenged to transcend their own knowledge and habits. The skills of intercultural communication and curious listening help our students positively contribute to the conflicts they encounter around the world.   

Through research and instruction, these projects provide participants with an understanding of the root causes and social structures that lead to conflict, and the skills to reshape the dynamics behind it to strengthen civil society. Students at all levels have the opportunity to become skilled at transforming conflict by crossing intellectual, cultural, and geographical borders.

2024 Projects


Students from the School in Argentina traveled to Neuquén, Argentina to learn about conflicts between the oil industry and indigenous communities over land, water, and traditional agriculture. While visiting the Mapuche community of Lof, students learned about local production cycles and efforts by smallholder farmers to survive amidst emerging large commodity exporters in the region. Students traveled to a tradional Mapuche farm near the Vaca Muerta’s oil field to observe and discuss possible paths towards conflict resolution with local Mapuche activists. As in previous semesters, this excursion exposed students to interests, needs, and positions of local actors and to conflicts not commonly seen in their host cities nor taught in general university classes. Click here for information on CT projects from previous semesters. 


The Middlebury School in Cameroon offered its first CT course entitled The Roles and Experiences of Women in Transforming Conflict in Post-Colonial Cameroon. This course explored the role of Cameroonian women as changemakers. Using the case study of internally displaced women from the ongoing conflict in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, students identified and analyzed transformative approaches to political conflicts and then learned from women changemakers and their community-based efforts to transform those conflicts. Conflict was discussed across numerous themes including environment, education, food and water, the economy, displacement, and public health. Through academic writings on CT and field-based experiences with local and international NGOs, students observed, learned, and described how women negotiate freedom, re-integration, stability and reemergence for themselves, their families, and their communities in periods of conflict. 

Two students at the School in Cameroon joined the Center for Gender, Peace and Security as Junior Researchers. School in Cameroon Professor Fofack led students on a semester-long investigation of gender representation in local media, monitoring media outlets, and exploring newspaper and magazine archives. The students applied their French language skills to a semi-professional setting and gained a nuanced understanding of the Cameroonian social, political, and cultural environment. 


Two CT courses were offered again in the Spring of 2024: Taking to the Streets: Revolts and Social Movements in France and The EU, an Unprecedented Experiment in the Socialization of Conflicts. Students in the Taking to the Streets: Revolts and Social Movements in France course learned about the history and role of social and political conflict in France while also gaining a foundation in conflict transformation. Students analyzed actors in conflict, the root causes of conflict, the role of conflict in shaping French governance, and instances of transformative conflict. Students taking the The EU, an Unprecedented Experiment in the Socialization of Conflicts course analyzed the EU through the lens of conflict transformation, learning about the institutionalization of conflict management, deliberation, and dialogue at both the national and regional level. Through lectures, discussions, and written assignments, students grappled with the challenges involved in managing, resolving, and transforming conflict within the EU, which represents a large and diverse body of countries/parties, whose interests, positions, languages, and cultures vary greatly. The course included a guided tour of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.


The School in Jordan offered the CT course Reshaping Perspectives: Conflict Transformation in the Palestinian-Israeli Context. The course focused on applying the theoretical lens of CT to the storied and complex history of the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Given that 53% of Jordan’s population is of Palestinian origin, students had the unique opportunity to study this conflict within the cultural context of an Arab country in the Middle East. This was achieved by helping them develop their skills to engage with conflict constructively, including patient listening, critically reviewing opposing viewpoints, and appreciating the diversity of narratives surrounding complex conflicts. Students explored the role of language in conflict and discussed the ethics of evaluating this particular conflict in a classroom setting. 


Three students at the School in Morocco worked as research assistants under the guidance of Professor Hassan Belhiah. Their independently conducted research projects covered the theme of cultural-linguistic landscapes in modern Morocco. One student focused on the modern reintegration movements of Moroccan Jews, looking at the historical roles of this religious minority and dispelling antisemitic misconceptions promulgated by the Moroccan government. Another explored the marginalization of language and culture as factors influencing economic disparities, drawing on historical analysis of Arab conflicts past and present to identify how language and conflict interact. The third student analyzed US Government-sponsored Arabic language programs in Morocco as an example of language education in conflict transformation. Through statistical analysis, historical research, and first-hand accounts students immersed themselves in Morocco’s history. Their research showed how language can serve as both an instigator and a tool for transformation in conflicts both past and present.

United Kingdom

The Middlebury-CMRS Oxford Humanities Program (M-CMRS) held a CT symposium entitled “The Northern Ireland Peace Process and What Can Be Learned From It.” The symposium was held at Keble College, Oxford, and the event was open to M-CMRS as well Keble’s students, faculty, and staff. Three speakers, including Professor Ian McBride, Foster Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford; Lord John Alderdice, the former leader of the Alliance Party in Northern Ireland; and Sir Jonathan Phillips, who has been both Warden of Keble College and Permanent Secretary of the UK’s Northern Ireland Office, spoke on the Northern Ireland peace process. Speakers and students engaged in discussions that considered if and how the lessons of the Northern Ireland peace process could be regarded as applicable to other conflicts. 


Students at the School in Uruguay worked with the non-profit organization Redalco again in the Spring of 2024. Redalco addresses unequal food distribution, recovering discarded food and redistributing to disadvantaged communities in Montevideo. Middlebury students observed Redalco’s recovery of crops that do not meet market standards, learned about market criteria, consumer culture, food waste, and asymmetrical distribution. Then, students visited a Redalco beneficiary site in the Montevideo suburbs. Student participation in Redalco’s operations for redistribution of food to disadvantaged sectors of Montevideo has become a traditional component of the School in Uruguay’s Writing and Culture course, allowing them to deepen their immersion by directly observing the social tensions they study in the classroom. Click here for information on CT projects from previous semesters.